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IELTS DISCUSSION ESSAY - Detailed Analysis


To get a full analysis of a writing task 1 report click here:

WRITING TASK 1 ANALYSIS

Student T -WRITING TASK 2

In the following sample, sent in by a student, I will look at how an examiner would evaluate Task Achievement in a discussion essay for the following topic. This essay is quite good but needs some improvement. Today, we will just look at Task Achievement. I will discuss Coherence and Cohesion, Vocabulary and Grammar in another blog.

QUESTION

Some people believe that the primary role of the government should be to focus on developing the economy. Others feel that it is more important for governments to focus on protecting the environment.

Discuss both views and give your opinion.

ORIGINAL WRITING BY T

The relationship between environment protection and economic development has always been controversial. However, of late, the argument has been drawn to which area that the government should focus on. Considering this issue, I believe that both aspects are equally important and should be proportionately concerned.

On the one hand, a group of people think that the government should only pay attention to develop the economy. It is their view that the economic growth play a pivotal role in the development of the respective country. Without the sustainability of economic development, it is extremely difficult for the government to improve the living standard of people and address social issues such as unemployment, poor healthcare and inadequate infrastructures. Thus, it is widely acknowledged that the competitiveness of a nation is related to its state of economy. In other words, it is unlikely that a country can compete with others and attract foreign investment with the lack of economic enhancement.

On the other hand, skeptics of the above idea suggest that the government should take into account the importance of protecting the environment. The major reason for such concept is because of the non-stop news about environmental issues such as air, water and soil pollution published in the media everyday. Admittedly, human are being threatened by the great damage that environmental degradation can cause since it not only affects the economic activities but also the health of current population and the future generation.

In the nutshell, it is undoubtedly true that conflict about the role of the government in the economy and environmental issues is sharper today than ever before. As far as I am concerned, economic improvement should not be seperated from environmental protection since there is an interconnected relation between the former and latter.

WHAT IS THE EXAMINER LOOKING FOR?

Task Achievement

  • Do you address all parts of the task?

  • Do you develop your answer with supporting examples or explanations?

  • Are your examples relevant and extended?

  • Is there a clear development of ideas?

  • Do you express your opinion clearly throughout the essay?

  • Does each paragraph have a clear focus?

  • Are there more than 250 words?

ANALYSIS of Student Writing:

Positive

  • 293 words

  • All parts of the question are covered.

  • The explanations are fairly well developed

  • The development of ideas is clear

  • Each paragraph has a clear focus

Negative

  • However, all parts are not covered equally (in particular, the opinion needs to be more developed). See below:

DETAILED ANALYSIS

In this essay question, the task is to DISCUSS BOTH SIDES and GIVE YOUR OPINION.

You do a pretty good job of discussing the two sides. However, your opinion is not well developed. You mention the opinion in the INTRO and again, in a slightly different way, in the CONCLUSION. However, you do not develop it as much as you do the other two sides. IELTS examiners can be strict about this.

You chose to talk about OTHER people’s opinions in the two body paragraphs. THIS IS FINE in a discussion essay. In fact, you did this quite well!

However, this also means that the only parts giving your opinions are in the INTRO and the CONCLUSION. In addition, the first sentence of the conclusion only talks about the conflict, not your opinion:

"In the nutshell, it is undoubtedly true that conflict about the role of the government in the economy and environmental issues is sharper today than ever before."

As you can see this sentence does NOT address the question of whether governments should place more importance of developing the economy or on protecting the environment.

In fact, there are only two sentences which show your opinion: The last sentence of the INTRO and the last of the CONCLUSION. Let’s look at the two sentences which express your opinion:

INTRO - I believe that both aspects are equally important and should be proportionately concerned.

CONCLUSION - As far as I am concerned, economic improvement should not be seperated from environmental protection since there is an interconnected relation between the former and latter.

Therefore, it can be seen that you did not develop the part of the question that asks you to give your opinion. Since you did not develop your opinion, all parts of the essay question are NOT equally covered. If an examiner thinks you did not address all parts of the essay adequately, you could not get more than a 6 for task achievement.

SOLUTION 1

One way to fix this is to expand on your idea in the conclusion.

For example, you could talk about the future: Consequently, I believe that governments should strive to provide more funding into research to reduce the economic cost of protecting the environment.

You could also talk about the government’s role and make a SUGGESTION: In my opinion, some governments around the world do not place enough emphasis on protecting the environment. Therefore, I believe that governments should take a more active role in creating policies for environmental protection and raising awareness of the dangers of destroying our planet’s natural resources.

NOTE: the following solutions are ways that you can express your opinion throughout the essay! If you can do this, it will impress an examiner.

SOLUTION 2 (my least favourite solution)

IELTS examiners like to see that you express your opinion clearly and you are consistent throughout your essay.

Therefore, another idea is to discuss both sides WITHOUT talking about other’s opinions. This makes the positions look more like your own.

In this case, you could introduce the paragraphs like:

Body paragraph 1: On the one hand, the economy is undeniably important to any country…

Body Paragraph 2: On the other hand, it is also widely accepted that governments should take into account the importance of protecting the environment

SOLUTION 3

In your essay, you chose to say that BOTH are equally important. This is acceptable, but not always advisable because it is sometimes quite difficult to write an essay in which you believe that BOTH sides are equally important. It is often easier to support one side or the other.

In any case, if you DO choose to support BOTH sides, you could INCLUDE your opinion in the discussion of the two sides:

Body paragraph 1: In my opinion, the economic development is essential for raising the standard of living in any country.

Body Paragraph 2: However, I also believe that governments should take into account the importance of protecting the environment

SOLUTION 4

You can choose one side or the other. For example, imagine that you think it is more important to protect the environment:

In this case:

Body Paragraph 1 (same as you did it) On the one hand, a group of people think that the government should only pay attention to developing the economy.

Body Paragraph 2 : Nevertheless, I believe that the government should play a stronger role in protecting the environment

Approximate (public) BAND SCORE = 6 ( with a little more development on your opinion, it would go to 7, or maybe even 8)

To get a full analysis of a writing task 1 report click here:

WRITING TASK 1 ANALYSIS

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